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Mindful Gift Giving Guide

With mindfulness on everyone's mind for the last several years, it's a good idea to keep intentional living in mind when you're shopping for friends and loved ones. The benefits of being more mindful have been well established and proven, and with so many people choosing to live this way, you may be one of them. We all know what it's like when we're trying to keep our homes and hearts full of only things that bring us joy and nourish us - so it should be a priority to pass this gift along to others when we can. We can do that by shopping intentionally for others and making an effort to be more sustainable. Let's look at some easy ways to be mindful in your gift-giving.

Give The Gift Of Time

Time flies, life is short, there aren't enough hours in the day - we're all familiar with these adages because they're used frequently as there is a ton of truth in all of them. For many people, the gift of your time is the best thing you can give them. Especially if you're shopping for someone with a disability or are aging, giving your time to help them with something they need to get done but are struggling to is priceless. Consider giving a card to the recipient with a note inside letting them know that you'll be tending their flower beds this year, and you'll be doing their grocery shopping or driving them to appointments. Don't leave things open-ended as many people are too timid to ask directly for "help." By stating what you'll be doing, they can't get out of your gift of time!

A Quick Hello

Whether it's because an ocean separates you, or they're more of an acquaintance than a loved one - sending a quick hello in the form of personalized birthday cards or ecards is an excellent way to stay in touch. You can also include e-gift certificates in this type of virtual hellos. Perhaps several years ago, this form of reaching out would have been considered impersonal, but not so today! Most people prefer text over phone calls, and virtual greetings are just as personal as a letter from the mailman. So, if you're someone that's juggling a busy schedule or you almost missed someone's birthday or graduation, a quick virtual hello is just the trick!


We all have a minimalist or two in our lives - if you're reading about mindfulness, you may be one - so subscriptions make excellent service and mindful ones at that. When you take the time to think about the recipient and their interests, you can tailor your subscription to something they will appreciate and use, whether that's consumables like a chocolate lover's subscription or wine, to something more practical like a fresh produce subscription. Signing someone up for something they want and need is an intentional way of helping them and saving them money on things they need in their day-to-day lives.

Make A Donation

Recently, when Betty White passed away, the "Betty White Challenge" on her birthday raised over 12 million dollars for animals in shelters - all because people donated to their local animal shelters in Betty's name on her birthday. If the person you're shopping for has a passion project, consider donating in their name to an organization or two that make a difference in that area. If you don't have a lot of money to contribute, donate your time to those organizations instead.

Experiences Instead

More and more people are choosing to give the gift of experiences over physical presents nowadays. This is not only an incredibly mindful gift, but it's sustainable as well - and the world needs all the help it can get in that department. Maybe the person you're shopping for has always wanted to hang glide, or horseback ride, or get in a hot air balloon. Even if the experience is as simple as a stroll down a beach, these "presents" create lifelong memories. Consider giving experiences instead.

Mindfulness isn't a trend, and it is a way of living that more and more people adopt every day - it's not going anywhere. By training yourself to shop mindfully and further, gift-give this way, you will benefit not only yourself but your local communities and the entire planet. Let the ideas, as mentioned earlier, be a jumping-off point to living and giving more mindfully.

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About The Authors

Paolo Reyna

Paolo Reyna - Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.

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